Deep, Abiding Happiness ~ A Moment in the Garden

Natalie Snooke - Sunday, September 23, 2012

This morning, I had one of those deeply nourishing moments that helps to remind me what life is all about.

As I was watering the plants, listening to the birds and their sweet morning-song, watching the droplets of water from the hose caress the earth, 'beingness' overcame me.  I don't mean to sound too esoteric, but it was one of those moments when time stood still and everything was incredibly lucid and perfect.  And moments before, my mind had been busily reflecting over a particularly busy week-that-was, seemingly overloaded with 'to do lists' and playing multiple (and sometimes simultaneous) roles of yoga teacher, understanding boss, friend, sister, mentor, life coach, IT coansultant, dental patient, daughter etc etc  (You get the gist!)  In that moment, I realised that nothing needed to change.  That despite feelings of overwhelm at times, I could see through it all to a deep, abiding happiness.  A well of joy had been released and in that moment, I was free!

It's moment like these that have a lasting impact.  Just a little taste of inner joy like this helps to put life into perspective in many ways.  It showed me the beauty of life when I leave everything as it is, and just notice what is there within me.  Peace, joy and delight!  Lettting life express itself through me rather than 'me' thinking I need to make life as it 'should' be.  

This experience reminded me of a quote I read a few years ago.  I dug it out of my files to share:

“The mind and intellect cannot capture peace.  They have a different function.  Peace, joy and true happiness are not subjects for thought.  There is a feeling behind being alive.  There are no explanations for it.”   ~ Maharaji

Life has the ongoing capacity to teach us everything we need to know, if we let it.     

Perhaps you too might relate to a moment like this?  I hope so.  Keep a look out for them.  They're precious gifts from beyond.

Feeling More, Thinking Less

Natalie Snooke - Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I know of a spiritual teacher who has a program called the 'Headless Way'.  I love this.  It's very apt! 

Much of our life is lived 'from the neck upwards' as we fall into the habit of being driven by thinking.  The mind is a powerful tool with wonderful intellectual capabities, when focused.  However, if we take a closer look, much of our thinking is not like this.  It is whimsical, scattered and often not about anything we are doing in the present moment.  When we first come to see and realise this, it can often be quite startling!  We realise that we are not living in the NOW, but re-living what's happened in the past or trying to pre-empt or plan what might happen in the future.  Living life in this way leads to anxiety and feeling like time is racing by.

One of the gifts that practicing yoga and meditation offers, is the chance to really see things as they are.  And to learn different ways of relating to ourselves, especially our minds.

The body and breath, unlike the mind, is always in the NOW.  It is always here, going about its business without us needing to think or interfere.  Which is just as well!  The heart beats, the breath moves, the eyes blink and the muscles move.  Learning to tune-into the body, feeling what is going on with its energy and movements, is a very simple way to bring us into the present moment.  It's one of those vital life skills that I wish I'd learned in primary school.

If you haven't already, try it for yourself.  See if you can shift from 'thinking' to 'feeling' and notice what a difference it has.  You might be surprised how such a simple shift can have such a profound impact.

Suffer or Surrender?

Natalie Snooke - Tuesday, August 07, 2012

When we first embark on any personal growth, whether that be through yoga, coaching or some other form of experiential learning, we soon 'come up against' ourselves.  What I mean by this, is that even though on one level we enjoy it and know it's doing us good, on another level we might feel uncomfortable, unsure or find ourselves making up excuses and quitting.  

What got me to thinking about this was noticing how often beginner yoga students give up too soon! And I know I'm not alone as a yoga teacher in making this observation. We see students really enjoying their yoga, who express this openly, yet who, mysteriously, don't seem to continue, despite the good that it's doing!  Why is this so?

A wise teacher once said to me "there's no growth without friction". 

When we grow, part of the growing process is about directly experiencing our own well-ingrained habit patterns.  Reluctance, self-doubt, making excuses and losing focus are all good examples.  The ego-mind has many, very 'slippery' ways to lure us into a false sense of security.  If we follow the tempataion to give-up, we just strengthen the habit pattern.  And in the long-run, this just causes us to suffer by keeping us locked into our habits.  Not to mention locked-into a stiff body!  And healthy growth is about the opposite of this.  It's about freedom.

The alternative is to 'surrender'.  To surrender our doubt, reluctance or resistance.  We do this by noticing it is there, taking a deep breath and letting it burn itself out.  We gently strengthen our resolve to go on and deepen our commitment to doing whatever is in our own best interests.  Through surrender we can experience genuine freedom.  And who doesn't want that?  Happy surrender-ing!





Open Heart, Open Mind

Natalie Snooke - Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Recently I came across the book Open Heart, Open Mind by Tsokni Rinpoche. Tsokni is a Tibetan Buddhist monk, married with children, living in the US. So he has a finely-tuned blend of wisdom, interlaced with juicy life-experience and practical understanding. His book is a gem! And this parapgraph in particluar struck a real chord with me:

"Look at your life. Look at the ways in which you define who you are and what you're capable of achieving. Look at your goals. Look at the pressures applied by the people around you and the culture in which you were raised. Look again. And again. Keep looking until you realise, within your own experience, that you're so much more than who you believe you are. Keep looking until you discover the wondrous heart, the marvelous mind, that is the very basis of your being."

Look within. Although it sounds cliche, it actually isn't. When we take some quiet time to look deeply within ourselves, we can be pleasantly surpirsed by what we find. Underneath all the layers of thoughts, emotions, beliefs and patterns of behaviour, lies a place that is calm, quiet and happy. It is like reservoir that is always full, not matter what may be going on at the surface.

When we learn to touch this place inside ourselves, it is life-changing. For me, it took many years of wanting more from life and from others, of searching, partying a fair amount and eventually surrendering through the practice of yoga before I realised that the fulfilment I wanted all along was right under my nose! Indeed it was like a home-coming. It took a little while for me to fully come to terms with what this new perspective meant for how I was living my life and for things to fully-integrate, but now I wouldn't have it any other way.  This awareness IS everything.  There is a radiant being inside each of us, just waiting for the right time to emerge. Again, again and again.  Blessings ~ Natalie


Natalie Snooke - Sunday, June 24, 2012

A new phase has dawned with our new website!  We hope you like it.  The 'go live' just happened to coincide with the winter solstice here in Perth, so we hope that's auspicious.

Just like any new beginning in life, this one has been filled with a mix of experiences and emotions.  We've had lots of fun (and moments of frustration) putting it together over the last six months.  We love the fresh, vibrant, community-feel that represents how we are and what we do.  We're excited about the new ways we can share information and communicate - like this blog.  And we're looking forward to the easy on-line booking system for our events.  I must admit though, I was a little nervous about the 'go live' date and procrastinated on it for a couple of weeks.  There has been 'letting go' of old ways to make way for the new.  And the technology and learning has been pretty steep, with a healthy dose of patience required!

Now that it's here though, we love it and I wonder what all the initial fuss was all about!?  Whatever we are presented with in life, especially beginnings, we can trust that it is all happpening for our growth and highest good.  Even a website.  Stepping out of our comfort zone is what life is calling us to do on many levels.  I look forward to sharing more thoughts and reflections through regular blog posts. I hope these musings amuse, at the very least, and inspire at the very most.  Happy beginnings!  Natalie 

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